Rev. Wisdom Akinola Babalola is a U.S based Nigerian preacher, journalist and a consummate business administrator. A graduate of Mass Communication and Business Administration, Rev. Babalola is the Lead Pastor of the Sanctuary of Life Ministries, U.S. In the below interview with Christian Benefits on Exploits of Nigerian Preachers in the Diaspora, Babalola shares his odyssey in ministry and how God prepared his ministry ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic to focus on the electronic media to preach the gospel, and also other vital details about the Sanctuary of Life Ministries, U.S. Excerpts
Can we meet you sir?
My names is Rev. Wisdom Akinola Babalola
Briefly tell us about your background and upbringing
I was born into a Christian Methodist family. My late father was a preacher. My mum is about 80 years old and still a member of the adult choir and Sunday school teacher in her church for over 40 years now. I was a confirmed Methodist as far back as mid-80s; even before I became born again. Being a confirmed Methodist member was the only condition to partake in the communion service back then in the Methodist church. I was also a Lieutenant in the Boys Brigade of Nigeria back home at Ogbomoso, Oyo state, Nigeria. So, this tells about my family background and my commitment to church activities even before I became born again.
Please share with us your rebirth encounter by which you became born again
I was not born again until I went for my Advanced Level (A/L) studies at the then Oyo State College of Arts and Sciences, (OSCAS), Ile Ife, in present Osun state in 1989. I just felt a void in my life that I needed to fill. So, I attended a revival organized by the Christian campus fellowship and I gave my life to Christ on July 21, 1989 under the preaching of the highly revered man of God, Rev. Dr. Francis Olonade of Jesus Embassy, Modakeke, Ile Ife. Back then they didn’t waste time with young converts. Few days after, I had baptism by immersion at Opada at the Obafemi Awolowo University (O.A.U), Ile Ife. Thereafter, the Holy Spirit ministered to a group of us. I thank God that he has been helping me ever since; even in my low estate. So, I give God the praise.
Was there any particular incident that informed your decision to give your life to Christ?
There was no particular incidence that informed my decision to give my life to Christ. As I said, I just felt there was a void that I needed to fill in my life. I needed somebody. Nobody invited me to that campus crusade. I just saw their poster and attended the revival. I believe it was time for me; I believe the harvest of my life was ripe at that time and heaven arranged it and I became born again at that time.
How will you describe your lifestyle before you gave your life to Christ?
I was an upright person by the virtue of my parental Christian upbringing. I just mentioned that I was raised in a Methodist home. My parents were teachers. So, we lived a morally upright life. Yes, I can say that to the glory of God that we lived a morally upright life. I was brilliant in secondary school. So, it was school, Boys Brigade and home. My life was not opened to vices as it were, because of my family upbringing. So that was my kind of lifestyle before I became a child of God.
How would you describe your walk with the Lord since you gave your life to him in 1989?
It has been wonderful. Walking with the Lord is very sweet. There are ups and down. I can say with all sense of modesty and to the glory of God that I have had my own low estate. There were times I didn’t measure up, but God has been my help all these years. God has been faithful. When I gave my life to Christ back then I was nurtured by the Scripture Union. They called them S.U in those days. I attended college, polytechnic and university. I have been working for several years. I have been involved in several Christian activities and ministries. Of course there were certain times in my life that things were not the way they ought to be in the ministry, may be because I was pursuing my career. So I wouldn’t say that all these years since 1989 I have been fully in the ministry. There were times I combined the ministry with secular job. And there were some times that I actually focused on my secular profession. Like I said, even in my low estate when I was not even measuring up God has been sustaining me. The grace of God has always been sufficient for me in this journey.
Please share with us how you received the call into ministry and also tell us the mandate of your call by God into ministry.
I am always excited to talk about my calling. There were series of events leading to my call into ministry. I can recall two very striking visions between 1991 and 1995.They were properly documented in my old diary. God confirmed that I am indeed called and sent by him to the nations of the world. Those visions are the secret of the energy and passion I have for the kingdom work and ministry till today. Even as a student in the early 90s those two revelations were the energy that gave me strength and the drive to go all out into the work of the ministry. But what people don’t know or easily misunderstand is because I’m very active. When I see any vacuum in the work of God I plug myself into it, because the passion is there. God has given us that mandate to go all out and do the work. I don’t want to elaborate more on those visions. When it is the appropriate and appointed time I will do so. I keep those visions very closed to my heart. My calling was confirmed according to the Book of Isaiah 49:1-6. That is the scripture that confirms my vision. It is written in our ministry website. God also used several brethren and men of God to confirm his call upon my life, including my spiritual father, mentor and friend of more than 25 years, Bishop I. Samuel Olumakinde Alawode. He is based in Ibadan, Nigeria. My first friend with whom I started our first gospel group, The Light of Life Gospel Family in 1993 also confirmed the calling of God upon my life. God used these individuals to confirm his call upon my life. They are also in the ministry and still fulfilling God’s purpose in their lives till date. The Lord also used my cousin; my first teacher in the things of God, Prof. Adeolu Afolabi. He is a pastor and a professor at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso, Oyo state. He has a great and flourishing ministry at Ogbomoso. God also used him to confirm his call upon my life. There were several individuals and situations that God used to confirm his call upon my life.
What are some of the gifts God endowed you for this mandate?
I am an evangelist, teacher and pastor by calling. These are my focus in ministry. There was a dispensation in the last 31 years that I focused purely on evangelistic work. There were certain times in my life, especially when I was a student of The Polytechnic, Ibadan and in the university, that I was purely a teacher and a pastor among students. So, I understand the areas of my calling early in my life that I was called into the office of a teacher, pastor and evangelist. I also have the gift of administration and the gift of faith. Our ministry is one that gives hope. There is no way you can teach the word of faith without talking about hope. The gift of faith has been operational in my life. It is evident in every aspect of my preaching.
Tell us your church programmes in line with the mandate of your ministry
Our ministry in the U.S is an offshoot of our ministry back home in Nigeria. I was ordained into ministry in 1999, and the ministry was named the Sanctuary of Life Ministries. We ran the church for about seven years before God led us to outreach meetings for several years. Thereafter I got involved in several other ministries; helping various ministries to develop their teaching ministry and training arm. These are the areas God had used us in Nigeria before I relocated to the U.S. The work we do now in the U.S is a build-up of what we started in Nigeria many years ago. When we were to re-commission the Sanctuary of Life Ministries in the U.S in 2019 the Lord spoke to us to focus on the electronic media to preach the gospel. At that time we never knew that the world would be afflicted with coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which forced most churches all over the world to turn to various social media platforms to preach the gospel. The Lord spoke to us that we should take advantage of the social media and radio to preach the gospel. And that is what we have been doing since our re-commission in the U.S in 2019 One of our flagship programmes is “Power for the Journey Summit;”a monthly prayer & fasting meeting to usher in every new month, during which we pray, we fast and we teach for five days. We also have another flagship meeting which is “Provoking the Supernatural;” a weekly one-hour nonstop prayer meeting every Saturday. We pray on all areas of life that the Lord opens our eyes. The ministry is barely one year old in the U.S. All the things God laid in my heart are unfolding gradually. We have held some series of special programmes. We hold our services on-line. We are on YouTube, twitter, Face book and Mercy Life Radio. We are just there exploring all opportunities to preach and spread the gospel to Africa, Asia, Europe and even to the Americans. God has been faithful in all that we do.
Share with us some of the testimonies from these programmes
We hold virtual services. We have heard several people said to us I watched your programme and I was blessed. This is what God did in my life. There are several testimonies. God is answering people’s prayers in our meetings. We are glad God is confirming his word with signs and wonders in the lives of many. We have the testimonies of individuals that we prayed with for their relocation and God made it happened. There are also individuals who trusted God for a job or breakthrough among other needs that we prayed together with them on-line and they had their testimonies. We witnessed people who had been discouraged, battered and beaten, and when they heard the word of God their situations changed. There are nations where it is difficult to preach the word of God, but through the electronic media the word of God is penetrating those areas. We give God all the glory for all he has done.
What informed your relocation from Nigeria to the United States of America?
God orders my steps. I believe it was time for me to move to the U.S. God orchestrated things to happen. I moved to the U.S some couple of years ago. I thank the Lord that I obeyed his voice and took the step to move to America.
Apart from ministry what other things do you do for a living in the U.S?
Let me just mention this. I had my ministerial training at Word of Faith Bible Institute (WOFBI) in 2004 on Leadership & Ministry. I have Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication of The Polytechnic, Ibadan and Master’s in Business Administration in 2010. This past month I have my second Master’s in Health Service Administration in the U.S. This is just to give you my academic background aside some on-line mentoring and training in Leadership & Ministry that I am undergoing. So, apart from the ministry, I am a consummate business administrator. I am a mentor. I mentor people. I coach. I do on-line conferences. I am also into health services, security and technology. I am a man of many parts apart from ministry.
Can we have a look at your lovely family; talking about your wife and kids?
I have a great family. All my family members are doing well in life and in the ministry. God has been gracious and faithful in my life and family. Everyone is involved in the ministry.
If Christ tarries, what is your vision for your ministry in the next 5 years?
The vision is very clear. To keep on building what God has told us to focus on the electronic media to preach the gospel all over the world. We believe in the next five years we should have owned a radio station and studio to broadcast the gospel all over the world. That is our target. Our vision is to establish the Lordship of our Lord Jesus Christ the more into the unreached areas through the transmitting power of the electronic media to the nations of Africa, South-east Asia and some other unreached nations of the world . That is our focus, our mandate and our target. Of course, we believe in building a church structure, but we believe more in a church without wall. And that is what we are going to build; raising an End time army without wall everywhere, advancing the kingdom of God with their lives. I really thank you for the opportunity of this interview with our ministry. God bless you and your ministry more n Jesus name, amen.